Starting on Sunday 9th November we're going to take three weeks to look in depth at the apostle Paul's incredible statement that:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
I think that many of us live with a sneaking suspicion that heaven might actually be a bit boring compared to the life we have now, all that floating around as disembodied spirits singing Tim Hughes songs for the rest of eternity! If we're really honest I think our focus is often on getting as much out of this life as we possibly can, rather than properly grasping what Paul had understood when he proclaimed "to die is gain".
I'm really looking forward to preaching the three weeks. I hope it's going to challenge lots of our assumptions about life after death, change how we do life before death and give us a different perspective on how we face up to the reality of death.
For those who like to know the plan the three weeks are going to look something like this:
- 9th November - "to die is gain". What actually happens to us when we die, what is heaven like, and in what ways is it gain for us to die. We'll also be having a minutes silence as we remember those who have given their lives in the defence of all the freedoms we enjoy.
- 16th November - "to live is Christ". How should we live differently on earth in the light of an eternity with God after death.
- 23rd November - what can we do to make sure we "die well", and how do we cope with the death of people close to us.
I hope all this talk of dying and what lies the other side of death has been OK for you. I know it's a subject that culturally we're not good at discussing or thinking about, and that for some both this blog and the coming series will raise some very strong feelings and emotions. My prayer is that this series would help all of us to have a truly different and overwhelmingly positive perspective on both this life, and the life to come.